Day 26 Tuesday July 1st 2014 Murray Falls to Innisfail
Not far from Murray Falls is the Jumbun Aboriginal Community a small cluster of houses and a general store. Nearby is the cemetery. The graves have no marble or headstones but each is swathed in flowers. Beside one grave there is a chair.
We have plenty of time to meander so we visit Mission Beach. The drive in is through thick rainforest a mass of vines. There are signs, one after another warning us ”Cassowaries cross here”. “Cassowaries have been seen crossing here recently”. How recently? “Speeding has killed Cassowaries”. OK, we get the message. Mission Beach really doesn’t live up to our expectations and there is still some cyclone damage evident. Overall, the town could do with some maintenance and an injection of enthusiasm.
We cross the Bruce Highway and take the Canecutter Way into Innisfail. It is a pretty drive through banana farms and cane fields. We stop briefly for a free peek at Paronella Park and the suspension bridge over the falls.
At Innisfail we prop at the Mango Tree Big 4 as it is washing day and we’re becoming desperate. The park was flattened by Cyclone Larry in 2006 and the owners have put up photo boards in the laundry of their 4 year effort to rebuild the place. As the sun is casting its last rays over Mt Bartle Frere (Qld’s highest) we drive out to The Coconuts and Flying Fish Point. These little hamlets are both delightful little spots. Back in town we enjoy dinner at the Imperial hotel which overlooks the Johnstone River.
Innisfail has a multicultural heritage, Aboriginal, English, Italian, Pacific Islanders, Chinese and Indian. The heritage is reflected in the architecture, the town hall and shire offices are art deco. The Catholic church looks as though it has been uprooted from the South Pacific and the brightly painted water tower, that dominates the town, looks Indian. Parking in the palm lined streets is nose first but there is a surprise. There is another row of cars parked down the centre of the street, each facing the direction they intend to go. This has us baffled and neither of us is game to try parking in the centre in case we look a fool.
Travelling Kms: 88Kms
2020 Note: Since this trip we have seen many Aboriginal cemeteries, swathes of plastic flowers and a chair close by so one can have a quiet chat with departed loved ones. On this trip I found it heart wrenching, but now I see the sense. I reckon all cemeteries should have a couple of plastic chairs so we can grab one sit down and have a chat with those we loved and lost.
Cyclones cause much devastation in northern Australia every year and it takes many years for clean up and regeneration. Sadly it’s a fact of life.
Paronella Park, how wrong we were! We thought the entry fee was steep and the caravan sites unsuitable. Since then I doubt that we’ve had many happy hours when Paronella Park wasn’t mentioned as the top place in Qld that people have visited. And the camping ground is necessary as both the day tour and the night tour are a must.